While the pandemic has dealt a blow to sports at large, the impact has been more severe for those working at sports venues and training facilities. Celebrities and athletes have come together to launch #PlayforIndia.
The growing network behind this initiative includes the likes of cricketers Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Smriti Mandhana and Mayank Aggarwal; Olympians Dipa Karmakar, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik; tennis ace Sania Mirza, celebrities Abhishek Bachchan and Sunil Shetty, and some of the most respected organizations in Indian sport.
The sports CSR initiative aims to bring together India’s sporting community, fans & athletes and channel their efforts into giving back to people belonging to the often invisible support system without whom sports activities would not be possible: cleaners, gardeners, coaches, umpires, referees, caddies and other support staff who are not receiving a regular income due to the lack of work.
In the launch video of the initiative, India’s World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh emphasized on the important role played by these workers, Meanwhile, actor Abhishek Bachchan, who also owns teams in the Pro Kabaddi League and the Indian Super League, adds, “Today, these workers need all of our support. So, let’s come together and truly play for India.”
Partner institutes include GoSports Foundation, LawNK, Pro Sport Development, Life Is a Ball, Oaktree Sports, Meraki Connect, Baseline Ventures, WordsWork, Olympic Gold Quest, Inspire Institute of Sport.
The aim of this movement is to build a culture of giving back in the Indian sports industry, where athletes, coaches and industry professionals attempt to help their colleagues in different ways. In addition to financial support, #PlayforIndia also allows people to volunteer time, effort and energy to worthwhile causes within and outside the sports community, such as education, mental health, hygiene etc.
Deepthi Bopaiah, Executive Director, GoSports Foundation says, “The COVID-19 crisis has hugely impacted Indian sport with all activity coming to a halt. Those dependent on sport for their livelihood have been the hardest hit. We hope our initiative #PlayforIndia will help these people through this tough period. We believe that our collective experience in this space enables us to provide a trustworthy platform for promoting, facilitating, and supporting sporting causes throughout India.”
Somdev Devvarman, Ex-Davis Cupper and Founder, Life Is a Ball adds, “#PlayforIndia is a great example of what can be achieved when we work together. I encourage everyone to participate in their own way whether it is through donations, volunteering or by suggesting a worthwhile cause to benefit those in need.”
#PlayForIndia is for everyone who wants to give back to Indian sport. While its immediate objective is to help our less fortunate colleagues through this current crisis, #PlayForIndia will continue to work to support the thousands of worthy causes and people working on the frontline of Indian sport.
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